Jun 27, 2016 | By Alec

Singapore is known for its strict laws, which include prison sentences for a wide range of what people in the west would consider minor offenses, such as littering. The country is also known for having one of the toughest gun laws in the world, with unlawful possession alone being punishable with a prison sentence or a caning, while using or attempting to use a gun illegally is punishable with death. And as a controversy over an annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rally revealed, those same Singapore laws apply to 3D printed guns of all kinds.

The controversy itself is a complex issue that largely took place on social media. Following the tragic massacre in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida last week, one Facebook user called Bryan Lim asked for ‘permission to open fire’. The message was posted in the We Are Against Pink Dot group, which opposes the organization of the LGBT rally in Singapore. He also said “I would like to see these ***** die for their causes”.

The comments created a whirlwind of social media outrage, eventually convincing Bryan Lim to apologize, delete the original post and take down his Facebook page. “I apologize for the misunderstanding. My words were strong. I did not mean anyone. I meant Bloomberg and foreign intervention in local matters. This was taken out of context. I hope this clears the air,” he said.

As part of the social media storm, some people questioned whether or not such an event could even take place in Singapore, considering the very strict gun laws that are in place. But as former security consultant Roy Phang argued, 3D printed guns powered by simple pneumatics can cause havoc in Singapore too. “The scary thing is: you can print and build this gun part by part using a normal desktop 3D printer that costs less than $500, and the blueprints are available online, along with more complex designs,” Phang wrote. “It’s not possible for crazed gunmen scenarios in Singapore you say? Think again. So the next time anyone makes a very public (and brainless) threat online to shoot anyone, don’t just dismiss it as a joke or ‘he didn’t mean it literally’.”

This prompted journalist Belmont Lay to look at Singaporean gun laws, and how they affect 3D printed guns. As he revealed, Assistant Director Ho Yenn Dar of the Singapore Police Force covered this issue in an earlier statement. “We have in place tough laws against the trafficking, manufacture and use of firearms. This applies equally to 3D printed firearms. It is already an offence under the Arms and Explosives Act for anyone to use a 3D printer to manufacture any arms or any component part of any arms without a license,” the Assistant Director said.

The result is clear: 3D printed guns fall under the Arms and Explosives Act, which prevents the trafficking, manufacture and use of all unauthorized arms in Singapore and covers any kind of gun or pistol from which a bullet or other projectile can be fired. “Any person who uses or attempts to use any arm shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be punished with death,” the law states. As the law further states, any attempted use of such a weapon will be presumed to have taken place with the intention to cause physical injury, until the opposite is proven. Even firing a 3D printed gun made without authorization thus carries the death penalty in Singapore, while ownership alone will be harshly punished.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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